The Artful Dodger project began in 2002, sponsored by Young At Arta program designed to introduce young people to the arts. Helen Miller, director of Young At Art, began the project with two main goals in mind. The first was to raise people's awareness and understanding of the arts. Miller hoped the project would demonstrate that art belongs in the public arena, the places "where people actually are." In this way art becomes an integral part of the landscape which increases the quality of life in a community.
Miller's second purpose for the Artful Dodger project was to develop Fort Dodge and the surrounding area economically through the arts. She noticed that the area was home to a variety of artists and wanted to tap that resource in order to make Fort Dodge a destination city for art lovers and collectors.
This year marks the 8th Annual Artful Dodger project and the third year that the project has teamed with a local charitable group in order to raise awareness and funds. Miller teamed up with Jodi Ricklefs of the Webster County Alzheimer's Association which will benefit from this year's art auction.
Memory Book cover designed by Reggie Cygan for the 2010 Artful Dodger project. Proceeds will, in part, benefit the Webster County Alzheimer's Association.
Built upon the theme "Memories", the Artful Dodger project presented scrapbook covers made of thin wood to area artists. In turn, the artists interpreted the theme of memories along with the idea of supporting the Alzheimer's Association as they decorated their scrapbook covers.
The art pieces were displayed at the Fort Dodge Public Library during Fall Fest in September. They also will be on display at Friendship Haven on October 16 during the Webster County Alzheimer's Association's annual Memory Walk. The walk begins at 10:00 a.m. at Friendship Haven, with registration at 9:00 a.m.
All of the scrapbooks will be auctioned off via silent auction. A program will be held at 2 p.m. at Iowa Central Community College and will feature several speakers who will present their perspectives on dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. Funds raised from the project will be distributed to the Alzheimer's Association and the Iowa Central Community College art department.